Frustrations Turned Into Opportunities

Our internships, which were the main part of our trip, are already done. For me, and I think for most people, the past two weeks have flown by. I had a little bit of a unique internship experience. I started at on company and after a couple days it was obvious that it was not going to work out. There happened to be a need for some extra help at another company, so I switched to the other company and worked there for the remaining days. The three days at my first company were rather frustrating. It was a medical transcription company, and I was sitting for ours listening to dictations from doctors and proof reading transcriptions that were already proofread. After a day this was beginning to seem pointless. I was not adding any value to the company, or learning anything. My second company was Sholay Online Solutions. They basically do anything that has to do with web design and web presence. There I was working, along with Matthew Mays, on developing a customer and sales database. Sudesh, the owner of Sholay Online, is really good at sales, but not quite so good at organizing and keeping track of customer accounts. As a result they have been having trouble keeping track of customers with outstanding accounts and collecting payments from them. Most of their information and documents were on paper, so hopefully the Microsoft Access database that we made for them is helpful in the future. As Matthews described in an earlier post Sudesh was very eager to teach us everything about selling websites, as well as Indian culture and business as mission. Looking back I see that the first company not working out was a positive opportunity to learn even more. I was able to see inside two Indian companies, as well as visit a few others during the transition.

Currently we are sitting the Mumbai Airport waiting for our flight, which has been delayed for a couple of hours due to fog and bad weather in Delhi. We left the hotel in Hyderabad early this morning for the full day of travel. Once we make it to Delhi we will have a very long bus ride to Jaipur. So hopefully this delay is not longer than the couple of hours they predicted when we arrived here in Mumbai. (two hours later) This delay has actually been a great opportunity to get a lot of work done. A lot of students are working on their paper/news article, which we have to write for this course. The extra time has given me the opportunity to write my blog post, as well as get caught up on my reading and journaling, and start my paper.

 

Written at 10:30 am Friday local time.

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Business as Usual

Our internships are almost over and as I look back over the last few weeks I feel like I have learned quite a bit at Intense Technologies, about both the workings of an Indian office and the changing dynamics within Indian culture. I would like to make a few observations.

The Indian office is a relaxed, hardworking environment. People start to arrive around 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. and stay till maybe 6:30 on a normal day. Breakfast is consumed after arriving at work, which pushes back the start of the day a little later. When things need to get done, there is hard work put into the task at hand, but come 1:00 p.m. its lunchtime. Our boss Santosh graciously takes us to lunch, which easily takes an hour. After lunch, people get back to work, but there is always time to chat or go on Facebook. From what I am told, this is a slow time of year and there is not much to do. At other times of the year they stay and work until midnight and work through the weekends. Time is not seen as a limited resource here.

Another thing that I have noted are the changes taking place in India both culturally and religiously. From talking with the locals, mostly Hindus, I can see that among the new generation there are many who do not adhere to traditional values as before. Hindus traditionally do not drink alcohol, but among the younger generation there is a greater tolerance for consumption. Hindus do not traditionally eat beef, but among young professionals there is a shifting attitude towards such an indulgence. I just got back from a steak dinner with Uday, a friend from work. Castes are still relevant to Indian life, but discrimination based on caste is prohibited by law and is diminished in effect in the cities. Dress is changing as well. While many women still wear traditional saris, many alternate between, and combine traditional styles with Western styles of clothing.

India is changing and I can only imagine what it will look like in a few decades.

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Taking it 1 Day At A Time

My internship at Sholay Online has got me doing this, that, but never the same old thing. For example, today at Ross and I started training our coworkers for the client database we established using Access (quite the task). Next on our agenda was to figure out a way to simultaneously update the info so it will automatically transfer for every computer. Then it was finally an early lunch stop on our way to NSL (India’s number one seed industry company). Sholay has designed their website several years ago but they wanted the next bigger and better thing (making it pretty simple for us).

After speaking with their CEO and designer we left for Raha Mattresses to discuss a dynamic website that will act as a 100 salesmen.  This definitely made the CFO’s ear’s perk up; until the negotiation began of course. After the sale, we headed downstairs to see the factory of how to make a mattress.  This concluded our long day of work but not the long car ride as I triyyy to write this blog…

Upon arrival at the Minerva Grand we will head upstairs to have a group dinner with Selvakumar and Keziah Samuel to learn more about India’s economic growth and if Christianity plays a role. This is just one of the very, very few ways we’ve been learning about Business as Mission in India. One may think it’s just a perspective when you walk into the front door of your office, but it has become much more than that here in India.  And the best part is, it seems to be contagious with Christian managers.

As we conclude these last couple of days in our internship I wish that all the students could have the experience that Ross and I did at Sholay Online.  We’ve had the opportunity that showed us how to make a sale, create an entire database of past and future customers, generate sales reports, implement decision analysis, and countless more.

Until the next,

Matthew Mays

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Sunday and Celebration

On Sunday the group had the opportunity to attend a local church plant that our hosts Michael and Archana attend with their family. The church is called C3 White Fields and was started by the Indian-Australian Gutta Rao and his wife Jackie. After an amazing time of worship where Gutta encouraged the small congregation to promise to make themselves “10 times better” over the course of the next year, similar to how Daniel was seen as 10 time better than any other official in Babylon. After the service, we were treated to delicious cakes and coffee and tea.

Over the weekend we were also able to see the City of Hyderabad celebrate an Indian holiday – Sankranti. It is a harvest festival and correlates with the movement of the sun during their mid-winter (it feels strange calling 80 degree weather mid-winter). The people of Hyderabad celebrate Sankranti by flying kites off their rooftops, in the streets, or anywhere there is space. From the view of the Charminar and the Golkonda Fort, it was cool to see hundreds of kites dotting the sky across the city.

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PUMPED

Over the past few weeks there have been many things that have stood out to me. They could range from the interesting array of food to the intricate designs of the sites we have seen. But the one thing that stands out the most about this place is how PUMPED people are about the Lord. With having internships in Business as Mission companies, Christians are around us at our internships. They love the same Lord as I do, but something is just different about them. Almost everyone I have meet is just PUMPED about the Lord and every opportunity they get to talk about Him they do. For me, I know I will try my best in future situations to be as excited about the Lord as these Indians are and reach out to others just like them.

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Cricket

If anyone had any sort of experience playing the game of cricket at all, they could have been an all star on our team today. Today one could have witnessed 13 Americans who have never played the game of cricket, step out on a field and attempt to play. From the start all of us were looking pretty raw. Swinging the cricket bat like a baseball bat, tennis racket, or golf club. I think it took us all a butt kicking from the Aliens Group team, which hosted the match, to get the hang of it. After the first match we mixed up the teams between our group and the aliens group. With one butt kicking from some locals and bananas for our halftime snack under our belts, the second game we all began to look like cricket players. Even showing signs of athleticism at times, making diving catches and having great at bats. The second game came down to throws, but even if the end result wasn’t what you wanted, everyone walked off that field with a smile.

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A world of delay …

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It began with the flight from GR to Chicago, which was delayed because of de-icing issues. When I came running into gate K12, I found an elderly woman in a sari with a bindi on her forehead who said she … Continue reading

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